Multi-Capable Airmen Enhance Mission Efficiency

25 June 2024

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Airmen from the 29th Aircraft Maintenance Unit complete a 200-hour turboprop engine inspection as part of the Multi-Capable Airmen training program at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, June 14, 2024. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Michelle Ferrari.

The 29th Aircraft Maintenance Unit (AMU) launched a Multi-Capable Airmen training program in March of 2024. The program allows U.S. Airmen to train on the skills of crew chiefs, avionics and weapons troops, helping prepare them for the broader scope of capabilities necessary to give the U.S. Air Force the advantage in the Great Power Competition initiative.

Squadron members can be trained and qualified on basic operations or tasks for each work center within a cycle, which takes four weeks to complete from start to finish. Airmen are trained in avionics systems operations, communication tasks, launch and recovery procedures, engine theory operations and more.

“An avionics technician who specializes in electronic systems used on aircraft would normally not be a part of airframe and engine maintenance,” said Master Sgt. Michael Nistler, 29th AMU section chief. “The MCA program allows them to learn launch and recovery procedures, tire and brake assembly replacements, engine theory of operation, and component replacements in addition to weapons systems.”

When training is complete, Airmen receive a certificate of completion, along with a duty-authorized patch.

“I was very honored to be a part of the MCA program, as it was a great opportunity to know what other shops do,” said Airman 1st Class Kennedy Richardson, 29th AMU avionics technician. “You get the overall knowledge about how the aircraft functions and how other sections work together and communicate with each other.”

According to Nistler, the 29th AMU currently has 20 total qualified MCA members, encompassing 3,000 training tasks overall. The unit will be going into cycle four with a goal of qualifying current 5-level Airmen.

“On a typical deployment, large teams are sent out, but our satellite launch recovery’s feature was designed with the purpose of removing the need for air crews at deployed locations,” said Tech. Sgt. Cory Westerfield, 29th AMU aircraft section noncommissioned officer in charge. “Moving locations quickly without having to move a lot of equipment infrastructure is beneficial to the efficiency of the mission, saving man hours, refueling trucks and equipment. When the MCA concept is applied, our unit can combine their skill set, having trained in other section tasks.”

Instead of sending out a large team, a smaller one can be sent out because they are all trained to perform the various tasks needed, making the team more agile and the logistics a lot easier to get the mission done.


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